Davos Stars: Professor Klaus Schwab – Best connected man alive

FirstRand [JSE:] co-founder Paul Harris once told me Richemont [JSE:] chairperson Johann Rupert is the "best connected person" on earth. Rupert’s networks are enviable. But his access to the rich, powerful and famous pales next to that of 76 year old Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Schwab, who has doctorates in engineering and economics, started the WEF in 1971, choosing Davos in Switzerland as the venue for the annual gathering of its members. In the same year he married fellow academic Hilde, the driving force behind the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the foremost organisation of its kind.

Since 1979 Schwab has authored the World Competitiveness Report, an annual comparison of national strengths and weaknesses used by leaders around the world to track economic progress.  A polymath who has translated his passion for knowledge into a formidable organisation, Schwab has since inception acted as host of the annual meeting.

He is a good friend to South Africa, a country which has always punched above its weight at the Forum. Among his personal highlights, Schwab counts getting Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Mangosuthu Buthelezi to share the Davos Stage in 1991. It was the first time the three political leaders had appeared publicly together. What happened in Davos that year transformed Mandela’s Robben Island ideal of a socialist state into today’s reality of South Africa’s mixed, market-driven economy.

From the outset Schwab set lofty goals for the non-profit WEF whose mission is “improving the state of the world.” He is hand-on, personally facilitating the opening and closing sessions of the five-day event, and some of the highest profile ones in between. His 13 honorary doctorates and 17 national honours from universities and countries literally across the world reflects the appreciation many have for the work done by this inimitable Swiss Professor – the youngest ever appointed by the University of Geneva.

* For more in-depth business news, visit biznews.com or simply sign up for the daily newsletter.

ZAR/USD
17.04
(-0.38)
ZAR/GBP
21.81
(-0.11)
ZAR/EUR
19.90
(-0.12)
ZAR/AUD
12.03
(-0.12)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-1.12)
Gold
1860.65
(+0.03)
Silver
22.87
(+0.11)
Platinum
844.51
(+0.50)
Brent Crude
42.23
(-0.12)
Palladium
2207.00
(+0.59)
All Share
53587.11
(-1.22)
Top 40
49547.74
(-1.16)
Financial 15
9401.28
(-1.95)
Industrial 25
72949.70
(-1.72)
Resource 10
53453.42
(-0.10)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1368 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 8860 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1959 votes
Vote